Rwanda Gov’t Deploys Drones to Combat Environmental Crime

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Local media reports that the country’s investigation bureau (RIB) and the Ministry of Environment have launched the use of drones to combat illegal acts that are considered degrading to the environment.

Environmental crime is an illegal act that directly harms the environment and is the fourth-largest criminal activity in the world. It is increasing by five to seven percent every year, according to reports.

According to the Rwanda Environment Ministry, the drones will collect information, conduct inspections for prevention, and support investigations of environmental crimes.

“The drones will help to respond to and control activities that damage our environment, including land degradation, water pollution, and illegal logging in protected areas,” said Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister for Environment.

She said reports found that commonly degrading activities are illegal mining, communities that encroach on protected areas, especially parks, riverbanks, and water pollution as well.

“This drone reaffirms the existing work of conducting inspections for prevention, detection, and investigations of environmental crimes countrywide. This drone will help to collect information from no-go areas and the accurate data and information will inform further action,” she said.

The minister said the partnership with RIB will learn from the existing partnership between Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in order to set up joint teams along with security forces at the district level and other concerned institutions to take appropriate measures to curb environmental degradation activities.

The drones will support the country’s efforts to protect the environment as Rwanda seeks to achieve a vision to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Rwanda has a long-term Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy and an ambitious climate action plan to reduce emissions by 38 percent by 2030.

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